Around this time of year companies in the MMORPG world are typically holding welcome back weekends or free trials to entice new and old players alike into their game worlds during the holidays. But oftentimes when someone leaves an MMO, it’s for a reason. So what makes you decide to come back to give one a second chance?
Currently, we’ve got World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV trying to both entice players back into Azeroth and Eorzea respectively, while other MMOs are launching fresh start servers and revamped experiences as a way to bring players back into the mix. These are targeted not just at new players the companies behind these MMOs are hoping to capture, but lapsed players they are hoping to re-capture. It makes me curious what other people weigh in their minds when they decide to jump into an MMO that might not have captured their attention the first go around.
For me, I look at a few things when deciding to give another chance to an MMO I couldn’t quite click with at first.
New and improved features
The first thing I look at is what has an MMO done to add new features, or what have they improved on the ones that weren’t that compelling last time I played. From revamping quest lines to streamlining leveling, am I going to hit the same walls or struggles that caused me to leave the last time, thus wasting my energy again? Is there anything added to the MMO that feels interesting or compelling to try?
This doesn’t always have to be the case, mind you. New World did a lot to get me to log back in after a few months away when it launched its Brimstone Sands update. An interesting setting for its new zone, telling the story of a time period and people I’m incredibly interested in, the Romans during the fall of the Republic, as well as Roman Egypt. The new leveling experience was also intriguing, but ultimately I want the leveling experience to extend to the whole game, not just the first 25 levels and then you hit a wall again.
That said, it did enough to get me to log back in and check it all out. I was excited again to play New World in a way that I didn’t feel since launch.
My friends are also trying it out
This is a big one. When the acronym has the word “multiplayer” in a prominent spot, having people to play with is key to me spending time in a game I’ve already moved on from. Oftentimes it was the fact that I was finding myself soloing more than actually experiencing the story and world with someone that drove me to the game my friends were all playing instead.
This was my experience with Final Fantasy XIV early on. While I had plenty of friends who played, more often than not when I could hop in, they weren’t free, or they were raiding in content three expansions ahead of me. So I would stop, finding FFXIV at the time incredibly boring to solo, especially since I didn’t enjoy the Red Mage much after that initial excitement wore off.
However, when the trailer for Endwalker rolled across my screen, I immediately wanted to play again. A friend of mine joined me, working through Duty Finders and Shadowbringers content to make it so I wasn’t tackling this large amount of FFXIV by myself for the most part.
As such, I gave FFXIV another try and have not looked back. I’m still plodding my way through, at my own pace, but it no longer feels like a soloing slog. Instead, I’m excited to hop in and tell my friends about my travels in Norvrandt, working my way till I’m up to where they are (I’m estimating by the next expansion at my pace). I’m incredibly happy I gave this one another try because it’s become one of my favorite Final Fantasy games of all time at this point.
It’s just a good offer
Have you heard of the critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV? With an expanded free trial which you can play through the entirety of A Realm Reborn and the award winning Heavensward expansion up to level 60 for free with no restrictions on playtime.
Have you tried the expanded Free Trial of our critically acclaimed MMORPG #FFXIV?You can play through the entirety of A Realm Reborn and the award-winning Heavensward expansion up to level 60 for FREE with no restrictions on playtime! ??https://t.co/TyO1aUnpxT pic.twitter.com/Dncfg7ldFM
— FINAL FANTASY XIV (@FF_XIV_EN) April 17, 2021
One reason this copypasta meme will stand the test of time in MMO circles is because, at the end of the day, it’s also just a really good offer. It’s not just that it’s funny to say exactly this way, every single time. It also is compelling marketing and a good way to get people into a game for long stretches and actually feel like they need to continue.
For many of these Welcome Back Weekends, they are just that: a weekend. I might be willing to spend a weekend playing a game I left a while back, if there is a good reason for me to do so other than just curiosity. An open-ended offer like the one in the meme hooks me and gives me not more time to go at my own pace to decide if it’s worth it for me to spend even more time in the MMO, but also play with no strings attached.
EVE Online’s latest Uprising expansion drop is a good example. While I would have played already, it got me to multibox again for the first time in quite a while thanks to its free Omega time offer. This offer, coupled with new content and changes to the MMO drew not just myself but many, many others back into the MMO during the first week or so of its launch.
What about you?
So what about you? What makes you feel like you should give another MMO a look? Is it a new feature, a new expansion, or just general curiosity? Let us know in the comments below.